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Kate Upton and Maksim Chmerkovskiy are not only dating but serious, according to an insider close to the cover girl and Dancing With the Stars alum.

But the pair, who met through a mutual friend about six months ago and were the subject of a round of romance rumors before, started off as friends.

"Along the way," the source says, "it turned into something else."

Moreover, the source adds that "They are very serious."

Specifically, their love bloomed and rumors of Kate Upton dating Maksim Chmerkovskiy first surfaced when he took Upton out to dinner on her birthday.

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Kate Upton and Maksim Chmerkovskiy are dating, sources confirm. And by sources, we mean our own eyes, as the couple was spotted holding hands!

Here's the model and former DWTS legend in the West Village in New York City:

Amid rumors going around this summer that Kate Upton and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were an item, the pair were spotted in July on a secretive dinner date.

Looks like that date turned into something more. Or at least some more dates!

Upton, 21, was just named 2013 Model of the Year (yes, that's a thing) and covers this month's special 100th-year anniversary Vanity Fair issue.

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The incomparable Kate Upton dons a gorgeous red strapless Lanvin dress on the cover of the September issue of Elle, which its newsstands August 20.

Kate Upton Elle Cover

In the magazine, she discussed the downside of her modeling fame, specifically feeling terrible and like a toy after her first SI cover in 2012.

"Every single guy I met was either married or about to be married, and I felt like I was their bachelor present or something," she tells the magazine.

"I'm not a toy, I'm a human. I'm not here to be used. I am a grown woman."

As for her current dating life ... there isn't much of one. "I really have never had a serious relationship in the industry," she says. "I'm just having fun."

"Obviously I have a very busy schedule, and relationships [aren't] a priority."

So there's still a chance down the road, guys ... but she is not a toy. We clear?

Can't get enough of her (and how could you, honestly)? Follow the jump for more Kate Upton photos and a behind-the-scenes video from Elle ...

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Kate Upton is on top of the world thanks to back-to-back Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers, but her status as a sex symbol took some getting used to.

The supermodel said at first, she felt objectified and ridiculed.

"After my first Sports Illustrated cover, I just felt terrible about myself for a solid month," she tells Elle, which the 21-year-old also covers this month.

"Every single guy I met was either married or about to be married, and I felt like I was their bachelor present or something. I'm not a toy, I'm a human."

"I'm not here to be used. I am a grown woman, you need to figure your sh-t out," she added, lamenting that she's treated like a stereotypical "dumb blonde."

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Kate Upton and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were spotted out and about again this week, this time at the HBO premiere of documentary Casting By in NYC.

"The two did not want to be photographed together," a source tells E! News.

The duo, who tried to avoid cameras, "left the event around midnight and went to Catch sushi bar, that turns into a club. The two partied until the early hours."

Despite their best efforts, the pair was nevertheless snapped in the back seat of a car, rekindling rumors that Upton is dating Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

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A behind-the-scenes video of Kate Upton posing for bikini photos in Antarctica has just been released by Sports Illustrated. And for that, we thank them.

The magazine's annual swimsuit issue itself is a winter staple, but don't forget it's winter on the South Pole right NOW. Wrap your minds around THAT!

More importantly, it's Kate Upton. Posing like this:

While striking a pose in an icy world dominated by penguins wasn't exactly familiar territory for Upton, being on a magazine cover certainly is lately.

After all, 2013 was the second year in a row where she graced SI's swimsuit issue, and the 21-year-old even made the cover of Vogue this year too.

So many hot Kate Upton pictures. So little time.

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Has Kate Upton found herself another star athlete quasi-boyfriend?

The supermodel, who has previously been linked to Justin Verlander and Mark Sanchez, is now getting close with L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin!

  • Kate Upton Rules
  • Blake Griffin Pic

The duo was seen at NYC hotspot Beauty & Essex this week. Sources say the NBA star showed up to meet a group of friends around 10:30 p.m.

Kate Upton, 20, showed up an hour later to join the group:

“The entire party looked like they were all having a great time in each other’s company – specifically Upton and Griffin who were very cozy with each other."

Upton and Blake Griffin "were cuddling and holding hands," and although they were not seen making out," they seemed pretty cute together."

Doesn't it figure. On the bright side ... it may not be in person, but thanks to this recent video, we can appreciate the joy of Kate Upton topless.

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Kate Upton wished a friend happy birthday this week with an e-card. Innocent enough, but the subtle dig at her ex is what has the sports world talking.

Kate Upton Sunglasses

Frank Viola III, son of the famed left-handed pitcher with a similar name, is one of Justin Verlander's best friends. Kate used to date Justin, the Tigers' ace.

Apparently, Kate's friendship with Frank survived while her romance with Justin did not. Her e-card to Viola, included in her Tweet, was a good one, saying:

"Happy birthday to a friend of a friend who I now like more than the original friend."

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This is what we call one serious heat check.

University of Michigan point guard Spike Albrecht came off the bench during last night's national title game to drop four three-pointers and score 17 points... in the first half!

And even though his team lost to Louisville, the freshman's confidence remained sky-high this morning, as he sent out a Tweet to the best looking fan in attendance at the Georgia Dome: Kate Upton!

Spike tweet

Does Albrecht actually have a shot at seeing Kate Upton nude?

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Kate Upton cuddled up to her favorite Tiger recently.

No, it wasn't rumored boyfriend Justin Verlander.

Kate Upton, Tiger

The supermodel seemed to be poking fun at those very rumors - that she and the Detroit Tigers pitching ace are an item - by Tweeting this photo with the caption:

"Just cuddling with my favorite tiger :)."

Unfortunately, for those looking for proof she's dating Justin Verlander, it's just her holding a tiger cub as part of a modeling shoot for Harper's Bazaar.

Fortunately, for single men everywhere, Kate Upton is single, and not even going to the prom with that kid it looks like ... busy schedules and everything.

Unfortunately ... Uplander would be a sweet couple name.

Kate Upton Biography

Kate Upton Poster Kate Upton is an model and actress known for her appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue,first in 2011, when she was named... More »
Born
Birthplace
St. Joseph, Michigan
Full Name
Kate Upton
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